3 Self-study programs for learning a new language
Learning a new language can be an enriching experience. Unfortunately, not everyone has the time or patience to sit through foreign language classes. I remember having little success with my one semester of French in college. My professor was such a terror that I was afraid to sign up for a second semester.
What really worked for me was self-studying. I’ve successfully taught myself Latin American Spanish, and now, I’ve gotten over my fear of French. Studying these languages on my own has allowed me to learn at my own pace and choose the materials that are best suited to my learning style.
Pimsleur is an audio CD program with reading lessons. What I love about it is that you start learning the things you’re most likely to need when carrying a conversation with a native speaker. You can stop midway Level 1 and have enough understanding of basic vocabulary and syntax to construct your own sentences.You can learn more about the Pimsleur method from the official website.
Rosetta Stone, on the other hand, is a computer-based program. You have to buy the software itself, plus the language pack you’re going to use. The training program is based on how children acquire a new language, so it’s easy enough to understand. Unlike Pimsleur’s, you won’t be able to carry a basic conversation with Rosetta Stone until you’ve gone through a considerable number of lessons. Also, some of the visuals tend to be confusing if you’re not paying close attention.
The major disadvantage of both programs is that they’re very expensive. I was lucky to borrow them from friends and the library, but if I had to invest my money on one of them, I’d choose Pimsleur’s, hands down.
But if you really have no money to invest, there’s a free alternative. LiveMocha is an online language learning tool with a social networking slant. You sign up for a free account and you can start with the lessons immediately. It’s similar to Rosetta Stone in format, but the lessons move at a faster pace. Since there’s a networking aspect, you can easily make friends with native speakers and ask them to correct and rate your speaking and writing exercises.
Have you tried self-studying a language? What materials did you use?